South Korea’s domestically developed fighter jet successfully completed its maiden test flight on Tuesday, a defense agency said, in a bid to replace an aging military jet to counter nuclear and missile threats from neighboring North Korea. between the blows.
The next-generation aircraft developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) in a project partially supported by Indonesia is designed as a cheaper, less covert alternative to the US-built F-35 on which South Korea is dependent. .
A prototype of the jet, called the KF-21, took off from an Air Force base in the southeastern city of Sachen at 3:40 pm and took about 30 minutes, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration said in a statement.
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The new jet will face further testing until 2026, when mass production is due to begin.
South Korea unveiled the first prototype of the KF-21 in April last year, touting the plane as the future backbone of its air force and a step towards greater military independence for the US ally in North Asia.
In 2014, South Korea and Indonesia agreed to jointly develop the jet into an 8.1 trillion won ($6.16 billion) project, with Jakarta agreeing to pay a fifth of the cost.
But in 2018, Indonesia sought to renegotiate the deal to ease pressure on its foreign exchange reserves, and later offered to pay its share in the form of barter.
An official said the two countries agreed in November that Jakarta would keep its pledge to bear 20 percent of development costs, including payment for a third of its share, although they had yet to formally modify the contract. .
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